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An infosec debate erupts over whether the Pentagon should require software vendors to certify their goods are free of known vulnerabilities. Are academic questions about military principles giving hackers a free pass to attack American networks? And New York considers banning targeted mobile ads in abortion clinics. This is CyberScoop for Aug. 19.

The Pentagon may require vendors certify their software is free of known flaws. Experts are split.

Should the Pentagon require that vendors only sell the military software that’s free of known vulnerabilities or defects that could cause security problems? On the surface, it seems like a reasonable request. But when security researcher Jerry Gamblin tweeted a screen shot of the House of Representative’s software vulnerability provision from within the massive 2023 National Defense Authorization Bill — passed July 14 — it divided the cybersecurity community. The debate boils down to two key arguments: the requirement is unnecessary and impossible to achieve or a game-changing move that will begin holding software vendors accountable for selling faulty technology. Suzanne Smalley has the story.

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Opinion: Why doctrinal arguments continue to stymie effective cyber policies

Cyberspace is a mess. But did it have to have emerged this way? Certainly, liberal democracies are most especially hamstrung when dealing with such a complicated domain, which is entirely owned by either states or the private sector. Unlike the other domains, there is, of course, no global commons, no international waters or airspace in cyberspace. Operating in cyberspace is indeed complicated, especially legally. A key reason for the complexity and confusion boils down to bureaucratic debates, especially related to the ongoing and almost religious fight over the definition of “tactical” versus “strategic” operations in cyberspace. Commentary from James Van de Velde.

New York mulls banning targeted ads in abortion clinics

The New York State Assembly is considering prohibiting digital advertisers from targeting visitors to health care facilities, including abortion clinics. The bill, introduced Aug. 12, would prevent advertisers from establishing geofences around health care facilities, which, once crossed, can be used to target visitors with highly specific mobile ads. Using GPS technology, advertising agencies can infer the reason why someone might be visiting a particular location, such as a cancer clinic, reproductive health clinic or a facility that provides methadone, without violating health privacy laws. Advertisers can potentially use this information to market items such as wigs, spread anti-abortion messaging or advertise expensive private rehab facilities. Lindsay McKenzie has the story in StateScoop.

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